Great Redwood Trail

The Great Redwood Trail is a 320-mile, world-class, multi-use rail-to-trail project connecting California’s San Francisco and Humboldt Bays. The legacy trail will travel through some of the wildest and most scenic landscapes in the United States, traversing old growth redwood forests, running alongside oak woodlands and vineyards, and winding through the magnificent Eel River Canyon.


redwood trail

Photo: Alicia Hamann

Facts at a Glance

320-miles of world class trail connecting Northern California communities in Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino, Trinity and Humboldt Counties.

Once completed the Great Redwood Trail will

  • Generate $24 million in annual local economic activity
  • Reduce 1,580 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions
  • Create 1,384,915 walking and biking trips annually


For the last 25 years, the Northwestern Pacific Railroad has been unusable as a railroad due to catastrophic damage, erosion and maintenance issues. In 2018, the California State Legislature ordered an assessment of the rail corridor to determine feasibility of converting railroad into a regional rail trail. In 2021 with strong community support, the Great Redwood Trail Act was signed into law, enabling the conversion of the derelict railroad corridor into a stellar recreation resource and economic driver for Northern California communities.

Great Redwood Trail Agency

The Great Redwood Trail Agency (“GRTA”) is the local agency established by the Great Redwood Trail Agency Act to develop and manage the Great Redwood Trail and discharge the duties of a rail common carrier before the Surface Transportation Board. The GRTA replaced the former North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) in 2022.

The GRTA service area is the former NCRA rail corridor in Mendocino, Trinity, and Humboldt Counties. The rail corridor in Sonoma and Marin Counties was transferred to Sonoma – Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART), who will be responsible for rail-with-trail development for the Southern Segment of the Great Redwood Trail.

Major Initiatives


Railbanking is a method, established in the amended 1983 National Trails System Act, to preserve an out-of-service rail corridor through interim use as a trail. Railbanking has successfully preserved thousands of miles of rail corridors across the United States. The GRTA is mandated to undertake the process of railbanking the rail corridor with the Surface Transportation B

Master Plan & Community Engagement Plan

The Great Redwood Trail Master Plan & Community Engagement Plan began development in Fall 2022. Informed by robust community and tribal engagement plans, the master plan will serve as the guiding document for future development of the Great Redwood Trail. The plan will develop priority projects, design guidelines, cost estimates, economic impact assessments, and recommendations for co-benefit projects including natural resource restoration projects.  The plan is anticipated to be completed in early 2024.

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